Chai Rin Kim

I hate it when I have to go to Mr. Salovey’s office! It is really lame. Every time it happens, he makes me feel real bad about myself.

I had to go to Mr. Salovey’s office last week. I was at school, and I was in the middle of Historiographic Perspectives on Philosophy. The teacher, Mrs. Delacroix, is really boring. She could make her class interesting for us. Like if she had us play fun games like dodgeball, or engaged with countervailing paradigms on a level beyond the merely superficial, or if we got Milk Duds when we answered things good: that would be fun. But she doesn’t do any of that! Instead we have to listen to her talk about stupid metaphilosophy. I hate it!

My friend Jean-Cristophe is in the class with me, and he hates it as much as I do. Sometimes we try and make fun of Mrs. Delacroix by doing things like deconstructing her psyche through a Marxist lens or making a fart noise when she sits down on her big puffy chair so that everyone thinks she farted. Boy, it makes her so mad! And it’s fun when she gets mad.

But it’s not fun when she catches you! The other day, she was giving some boring lecture about academic honesty — blah, blah, blah! — so I passed Jean-Cristophe a real funny note I’d written on a page of Thomas Carlyle’s “Sartor Resartus.” He laughed and laughed, and the straight vodka he was drinking out of an unmarked water bottle went right out his nose! But Mrs. Delacroix saw me, and she got real angry.

“Micah,” Mrs. Delacroix said, “do you have something you want to share with the whole junior seminar?”

“No, ma’am,” I said.

“Yes you do,” she said, and she made me get up in front of the whole class and tell them what the note said! It was a funny note, too, so it sucked that she ruined it. It said:


I didn’t want to read it because it had a cuss in it, but I had to read it anyway. It was real embarrassing, and then Mrs. Delacroix still got mad at me. She said that I should know better than to use words I didn’t know how to spell, like penis, or define, like inchoate. And then she sent me to Mr. Salovey’s office!

One of the worst parts about having to go to Mr. Salovey’s office is that you have to walk the whole way there. It’s when everyone else is in class, so grown-ups around you know you did something real bad. Also, it’s a mile and a half away from the seminar. Mr. Salovey’s office is big and weird. It’s in Woodbridge Hall, which is the place where the notes come from.

I tried to go into Mr. Salovey’s office, but his scary assistant made me wait in the hallway with all the other kids who did bad stuff. I talked with them. They were all scared, too. One of them had painted a big picture of a poop in painting class, and one of them had unwittingly violated the university’s leave policy by returning to campus while on involuntary medical withdrawal, and there was a girl who called her teacher a butt-face. They were all really cool. I think Mr. Salovey just doesn’t like cool people!

After a while, I went in to see Mr. Salovey. He was wearing a big brown suit, and he was smiling. He thinks he is cool and doesn’t understand that everyone knows he’s super lame, which is how he exhibits false consciousness.

“Hi, Micah,” he said. I didn’t answer, because I didn’t want to give him any attention.

“Mrs. Delacroix told me that you did something really mean to her today,” Mr. Salovey said. “Did you know that you really hurt her feelings?”

“Did not!” I said, because it’s important to be skeptical toward conventional wisdom, and also because he was wrong.

“You did,” Mr. Salovey said. “The words you say can hurt people, Micah. I want you to think about that.”

So I told him I was sorry, but he said I had to think more about what I’d done and that I should probably do my thinking at home, and he said he was gonna call my parents and tell them to come and get me. He is such a fart-ass! I think he likes making kids feel bad about themselves.

I told him that my mom and dad couldn’t come, because they were both at work and also they live in suburban Minneapolis, and then I started to cry real hard because I didn’t want my mom and dad to be mad at me. I was feeling so bad that I told Mr. Salovey the truth: my mom and dad have already had to come and pick me up three times this year, and last time they said that if I did something bad again, they would have to pull me out of Yale and send me to some stupid research university for dumb kids in the Finger Lakes region, and they meant it this time, mister.

Mr. Salovey let me cry for a while, and then he gave me some kleenex. He said that I still had to be punished because I’d broken the tacit social contract and not in a subversive Judith Butler-esque way, but that as long as I said I was sorry to Mrs. Delacroix and I meant it, he wouldn’t call my parents. I asked what my punishment would be, and he said that instead of going on the class field trip to the Bridgewater informational interview I’d have to stay behind and help him in his office for the day. I thought that that was super lame, but it was better than calling my parents, so I said yes.

And then I had to walk all the way back to Mrs. Delacroix’s class, and I had to tell her that I was sorry for the mean things I’d said about her. I did feel real bad, sure, but it was still really stupid that I had to go and tell her I was sorry in front of all the cool kids, like Isaiah and Emma and Bobby F., and I wouldn’t have had to if Mr. Salovey hadn’t been a stupid-pants, and that is the principal thesis undergirding why Mr. Salovey is dumb and I hate going to his office. Thank you.